I'M AFRAID OF MEN by Vivek Shraya
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 16 & up
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In this collection of brief and poignant memories, trans artist and musician Shraya (The Boy & the Bindi, 2016, etc.) reflects on how men exert control over the ways in which people express identity.

Experiences with harassment trained South Asian–Canadian Shraya to camouflage herself among straight men. She altered the way she walked, the way she dressed, and what food she purchased at the grocery store. Through vignettes from different stages of her life—as an adolescent with a “budding sashay” and “soprano laughter,” as an adult seeking affection from gay men in bars, and then as an openly trans woman developing her career in music—she shares the rejection and the pressure she faced for not fitting into a white enough or skinny enough mold and for not conforming to men’s expectations of her sexuality. Her fear formed “because of cumulative damage” from “everyday experiences.” Not only does she critique the way men treat women, but she examines the problems with societal expectations of men as well as the need to “celebrate gender creativity.” Shraya crafts each of her memories in prose made poetic with touches of metaphor. She writes with honesty and vulnerability, all the while asking challenging and personal questions that inspire deeper reflection. This crucial addition to shelves offers the vital and often ignored perspective of a trans woman of color.

A book to carry with you. (Nonfiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 28th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-7352-3593-9
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2018


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